Public libraries are particularly reliant on government funding for their operation, with 93% of their total income of $839m in 2003-04 coming from this source. The total expenses of public libraries in 2003-04 were $852.8m, of which $447.7m (53%) were labour costs. Other major expenses were purchases of library materials, and repairs and maintenance. The eight national and state archives were also highly dependent on government funding with $97.9m of their total $109.1m coming from this source.
10.8 Income and expenses of public libraries - 2003-04
All public libraries
|Government funding |
|Australia and state/territory |
|Income from services to clients |
|Total income(a) |
|Labour costs |
|Telecommunication services |
|Repair and maintenance |
|Purchases of library materials |
|Total expenses(b) |
|- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells) |
|(a) Total includes other income such as fundraising, sales of goods etc. |
|(b) Total includes other expenses such as subscription payments, freight, etc. |
|ABS, Public Libraries, Australia, 2003-04 (cat. no. 8561.0). |
An annual ABS collection of data on government funding of cultural activities provides more up to date information on the main source of income for libraries and archives. Data from the collection showed that the Australian Government increased funding for public libraries from $51m in 2003-04 to $54.9m in 2004-05, an increase of 7.6%.
State and territory government funding increased by 10.4% over the same period, from $302.4m to $333.9m. Australian Government funding for archives also increased, from $65m in 2003-04 to $65.2m in 2004-05. By comparison, state and territory government funding for archives increased by 42% over the same period, from $43.2m to $61.4m.
Substantial funding of libraries and archives also occurs at the local government level, but these data were not available for 2003-04.